Looking for a guide

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adamc
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Looking for a guide

Postby adamc » Mon Jan 04, 2016 2:11 am

What brings you to Liberation Unleashed?:
A friend showed me this forum, as he knows I have an interest in the concepts of no-self and spiritual enlightenment (in the sense of ridding yourself all beliefs -- not the guru babble stuff). I read through some of the threads and while interesting, I feel everyone has their own path to take in this process, and it will probably be more useful for me to go through the process with my own guide.
Yesterday night after reading one particular thread, I started to observe my thoughts and actions, and found out that (at least some of) the actions that my body was performing were not directed by my thoughts, but rather seemed to come from somewhere else. This observation intrigued me and let to one of those "a-ha" moments. I would like to explore this further, so I decided to take the plunge today and sign up for the forum.

What do you expect of the conversation on this forum?:
I have no expectations whatsoever. Let's see what happens and where it ends.

What is your background in terms of seeking and inquiry?:
My parents introduced me to author Jed McKenna and his enlightenment trilogy several years ago. I was intrigued by the concepts and after reading the books I felt more at peace with myself and the world happening around me. I have maintained an interest in the topic ever since, but never got around to actively doing a self-inquiry process, as described in the books. I made some false starts, but "life" always took over.
I also haven't felt the need to dive into other books, because I felt that what was written in Jed McKenna's books was enough, and that reading more it would just cloud and distract me from the truth.

Now, after reading some threads on this forum, I would like to give it another go. Hopefully with some guidance and persistence, I will be able to go further this time.

The reason I replied "ready for this 8/10", is that there's still the lingering fear inside me that says "what about your life goals and hopes and dreams". I suppose it's the fear of finding out "for real" that there is no point to life whatsoever, and that this will cause me to lose interest in my worldly pursuits. Even though I supposedly already know that, I still keep going, pretending it doesn't really matter and that making money to buy that next house is a valid goal to have in your life.

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Desert Dog
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Desert Dog » Fri Jan 08, 2016 10:37 am

Hi adamc,

Welcome to the Liberation Unleashed Forum and thanks for introducing yourself. I am very happy to be your guide.

To begin, firstly just some formalities.

Here is the agreement we will enter into:

If you haven't already seen it, there is introductory info here, the disclaimer and a short video too - http://www.liberationunleashed.com

Then please read and agree to the following:

1. If possible please post at least once a day, even if a short "still here" or "still looking". If you cannot post, or need more time, let me know. It is a good way to keep up the momentum.
2. Be 100% honest in your answers and inquiry.
3. Please answer only from direct experience (felt senses and observed thoughts). It is impossible to understate the importance of this; in order for any Direct Pointing session to be successful, it is your responsibility to examine your experience as it is, instead of resorting to speculation and theory-forming. The only way to get to the Gate and beyond is by directly looking at your actual experience of reality.
4. Put aside all other teachings, philosophies and such for the remainder of this investigation. Really put all your effort and attention in to seeing this reality, as it is. If you have a daily and essential meditation practice, it is fine to continue that.
5. Understand that I will be guiding you, rather than teaching you, and the more you put into this process the more you will get out of it.

And also here's some practical info about using the site:

Please learn to use the quote function, see viewtopic.php?f=4&t=660 for instructions.

Finally, here's a couple of helpful points:
1) You can press 'subscribe to this topic' in the blue bar at the bottom of this page and receive a notification email every time I post here.

2) When writing long replies I'd recommend to write elsewhere, then just paste the message into the 'reply' window when you're ready to send as sometimes posts can got lost due to internet or website connection problems, computer crashing etc!

Does that all sound ok?

I'm UK timezone, what about you?

My name is Vali, how shall I call you?

Best wishes

Vali

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adamc
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby adamc » Fri Jan 08, 2016 8:04 pm

Hi Vali, thanks for offering to guide me. You can call me Adam. All the above sounds perfectly fine. The only issue might be the timezone, as I am 12 hours ahead of you, so there might be some delay in each of us replying. If you think that's not a problem, then I am happy to begin.

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Desert Dog
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Desert Dog » Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:26 am

Hi Adam,

That's great. Ok lets see how it goes with the timezone. I usually post in the mornings so i guess you'll get that in the evening or the next day.

So as a starting point, what comes up for you when reading this:

There is NO separate self, I, me or ego existing in any way, shape or form, there never was and never will be.

Describe any thoughts, emotions, feelings you notice.

Vali

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adamc
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby adamc » Sat Jan 09, 2016 6:27 am

Alright, let's give it a go.
There is NO separate self, I, me or ego existing in any way, shape or form, there never was and never will be.
First thing that comes to my mind is recognition. By this, I mean the recognition of having seen and heard this statement or similar statements before, rather than the recognition of actually knowing it to be true myself.

The accompanying feelings that I get with it are regret, for not knowing it to be true, and a desire to get to know this myself -- and be certain of it, rather than half "believing" it.

Looking at the sentence again and seeing what comes up, my thoughts wander towards thinking:
- Then what is there, if not a self?
- What is the collection of my body, my thoughts and my feelings?
- Where did my consciousness come from and why is it isolated to this particular body/mind, if there is no self?

Those are my initial reactions. I'm trying not to over analyse, just write down the first things that came to my mind.

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Desert Dog
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Desert Dog » Sat Jan 09, 2016 2:54 pm

Hi Adam,

Thanks for your reply and being honest about what you noticed when reading and re-reading the sentence. This is a really important part of the process to take your time to see what happens when reading questions I ask, and being as honest as you can about what is observed directly. It's all too easy to get sidetracked into conceptual thinking (which the mind can do 'until the cows come home').

From your answers there doesn't seem to be any fear reaction, which is quite a common response, so we'll continue. But if you get fear responses to questions further down the line please let me know as this is worth looking at.
Then what is there, if not a self? What is the collection of my body, my thoughts and my feelings?
When it is seen that there is not a self, what there is, is "the collection of my body, my thoughts and my feelings". In other words, nothing really changes, everything is still there in experience, it's just the story or label of self is seen to be simply a label, rather than a THING - a thing that we then think needs protecting, improving, fighting for, adding to etc.

So try this. Can you find, in direct experience, right now, what the word "I" or "Self" or "Me" or "Adam" is pointing to? Take your time and describe what you find.

Kind wishes

Vali

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adamc
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby adamc » Sun Jan 10, 2016 1:24 am

Hi Vali,
It's all too easy to get sidetracked into conceptual thinking (which the mind can do 'until the cows come home').
Yes, I noticed that when reading the threads of others. I will do my best to limit my responses to what is a direct observation, feeling or set of thoughts, but will try to avoid conceptualising and over analysing. That might make my answers look brief and short, so do let me know if you'd like me to look at something in more depth.
When it is seen that there is not a self, what there is, is "the collection of my body, my thoughts and my feelings". In other words, nothing really changes, everything is still there in experience, it's just the story or label of self is seen to be simply a label, rather than a THING - a thing that we then think needs protecting, improving, fighting for, adding to etc.
Then what would be the difference with wanting to protect/improve the collection of body/thoughts/feelings? If "I", "me", "self" or "Adam" is just a label for that collection, and if that collection still is there, then could we not still apply all the same ego centric behaviour and thoughts to the collection, as if applying it to the label?
So try this. Can you find, in direct experience, right now, what the word "I" or "Self" or "Me" or "Adam" is pointing to? Take your time and describe what you find.
I have the following initial observations/thoughts after reading that sentence:

For other people that know me, "Adam" points to the human being/body which exists in this world (or which they observe/interact with). From this perspective, I find it easy to see that "Adam" is just a label.

As for my own perspective, I found it hard to identify what those words are pointing to, so I tried to look at it from several different contexts, for example:

I am hungry
If I think about what "I" means in that context, then I reach something like "The body requires food and is trying to make the brain notice so that it will direct the body to get food". In that context, "I" is pointing to the combination of body and brain.

I think that ...
This translates roughly to "The brain is producing thoughts". So in this context, "I" is pointing to just the brain and/or the thoughts that are produced.

I see the grass
Light reaches the eyes, the brain produces a picture, this is observed/seen by the consciousness (?) and the brain identifies it as being the label "grass". In this context, "I" is pointing to the brain/observer/consciousness.

To summarise, I find that the label "I" is pointing at either the whole collection or individual aspects of the collection of my body, thoughts and/or feelings, depending on the context.

However, saying "my body", "my thoughts" etc, implies that the body/thoughts/feelings belong to some kind of entity or greater whole. I cannot find what entity that would be though. So if there is no outer "container" around the body/thoughts/feelings, what is keeping them together?

Lastly, if I think about I/myself form a wider perspective, it seems to point to the collection of my memories, experiences and actions (past) as well as hopes, desires (future). All of these are imaginative though, as none of those concepts exist in the real world. So from that perspective, I is pointing to the story that has been created around those concepts.

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Desert Dog
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Desert Dog » Sun Jan 10, 2016 7:37 pm

Hi Adam,

Thanks for a full reply, some good conclusions there.

Some of what you write is more in the area of conceptual speculation so would say better to leave these for now as just complicates things. They are interesting questions to come back to once you're through the gate.
So from that perspective, I is pointing to the story that has been created around those concepts.
Really great clarity here. So other than labels and stories, can you find anything in direct experience (ie via one of the senses) that "I" refers to. If so, please describe in detail – does it have a shape? A size? A quality?"

Try to keep on the level of observations here rather than questions or speculations.

Vali

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adamc
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby adamc » Mon Jan 11, 2016 6:04 am

So other than labels and stories, can you find anything in direct experience (ie via one of the senses) that "I" refers to. If so, please describe in detail – does it have a shape? A size? A quality?"
No, unless I resort to speculation and over-analysing, I come up empty. I cannot find any "real" thing that "I" could refer to (let alone attribute any qualities to it), other than my previously mentioned collection of body, thoughts, feelings.

It becomes less clear when I try to analyse more complex conceptual statements, like "I am dead", or "I am observing my thoughts".

When I analyse the former, I end up theorising about death, but since I don't know what happens after our body dies, there's no point speculating there.

When I analyse the latter, I seem to reach the conclusion that there is a 4th aspect to the "I" collection: something that is capable of observing thoughts. I am not sure how to call this or what to make of it. Maybe it's a deception, and our brains are capable of observing the thoughts they produce themselves. But again, this would be further speculation so I'll leave it at this for now.

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Desert Dog
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Desert Dog » Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:40 am

No, unless I resort to speculation and over-analysing, I come up empty. I cannot find any "real" thing that "I" could refer to (let alone attribute any qualities to it), other than my previously mentioned collection of body, thoughts, feelings.
Nice!
I am observing my thoughts
Can you find an "I" that is observing your thoughts? Are you the thinker of thoughts? Or are thoughts just happening?

Vali

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adamc
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby adamc » Mon Jan 11, 2016 7:29 pm


Can you find an "I" that is observing your thoughts? Are you the thinker of thoughts? Or are thoughts just happening?
At first I wanted to say that "I" create thoughts, but then I realised that plenty of times at night for example thoughts just seem to be produced in my head involuntarily. So that leads me to think that (at least some) thoughts are happening on their own.

However, when tasked to think about something specific, like this question, I feel like there is some direction going on. So who or what is directing those thoughts? Or are they also just happening as a reaction to the stimulus of reading your question? I can't answer that with certainty at this time.

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Desert Dog
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Desert Dog » Mon Jan 11, 2016 7:32 pm

Look again. Can you find an "I" that is either creating or observing thoughts? If so, where is this "I" location, what size is it, what shape?

Keep looking you're doing well :)

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adamc
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby adamc » Mon Jan 11, 2016 7:34 pm

Ps, as for your first question, I am unsure of that as well, and I don't know how to call or interpret the observer of the thoughts. I think that might be the one thing that I would still attach the label "I" to though.

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Desert Dog
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Desert Dog » Tue Jan 12, 2016 7:32 am

Ps, as for your first question, I am unsure of that as well, and I don't know how to call or interpret the observer of the thoughts. I think that might be the one thing that I would still attach the label "I" to though.
In your direct experience, can you find this "I" that is the observer of thoughts? Can you find the 'observer'? If yes to either of these questions where is it exactly, describe it, what shape, what size?

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adamc
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby adamc » Tue Jan 12, 2016 7:31 pm

In your direct experience, can you find this "I" that is the observer of thoughts? Can you find the 'observer'? If yes to either of these questions where is it exactly, describe it, what shape, what size?
I looked, but I cannot find anything concrete like that, let alone attribute any physical qualities to it.

If there is no such separate observer, then the only conclusion I can draw from that is that it only exists as a concept in my thoughts, created by the brain, likely influenced by idea's from other people/books, picked up throughout my life. An in that case, it's just my brain observing the thoughts it produces itself, pretending somehow to be a separate observer with it's own identity.

So we're back to the "I" referring to the collection of thoughts/body/feelings. Since thoughts/feelings are generated by the brain, which is a part of the body, all that seems to remain is that "I" points to the body.


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